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Cryobiology. 2006 Jun;52(3):459-63.

Rapid cold-hardening increases membrane fluidity and cold tolerance of insect cells.

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aDepartment of Zoology, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056, USA.


The rapid cold-hardening (RCH) response not only confers dramatic protection against cold-shock (non-freezing) injury, but also "instantaneously" enhances organismal performance. Since cold-shock injury is associated with damage to the cell membrane, we investigated the relationship between RCH and changes in cold tolerance and membrane fluidity at the cellular level. None of the adult flies (Sarcophaga bullata) in the cold-shocked treatment group survived direct transfer to -8 degrees C for 2 h; in contrast, 64.5% of flies in the RCH group survived exposure to -8 degrees C. Differences between the treatment groups also were reflected at the cellular level; only 21.3% of fat body cells in the cold-shocked group survived compared to 68.5% in the RCH group. Using 31P solid-state NMR spectroscopy, we determined that membrane fluidity increased concurrently with rapid cold-hardening of fat body cells. This result suggests that membrane characteristics may be modified very rapidly to protect cells against cold-shock injury.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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